Sunday, August 18, 2019

KG Klink, France, Game 11


Ambush at Abbeville, #4
0715 28 May 1940

Following the fighting in and around Flavion, KG Klink was briefly pulled out of the line to rest, refit, perform maintenance on their weapons, machines, and equipment, and bring in a few replacements.  They were actually parked outside the Dunkirk perimeter when they were called back to action; further south, German forces had forced a crossing on the Somme.  At 0600 27 on May, the Allies counterattacked the German bridgehead, striking the German 57th Infantry Division southwest of Abbeville, in an attempt to reach the encircled Allied troops at Dunkirk.

Unbeknownst to the Germans, the French
French 4e DCr (or 4th Division Cuirassee, 4th Armored Division) arrived in the battle area that evening.  The French force, heavily armed with Char B1, Somua S-35, and Hotchkiss light tanks, immediately set about reorganizing, preparing to attack on the morning of 28 May.

KG Klink moved all through the night in order to reach the battle area. arriving at approximately  0500 on 28 May.  The plan was for KG Klink to counterattack down the Blangy-Abbevile Road, hoping to flank the French 2e DLC (2nd Cavalry Division), maybe even cut all the way across and in behind the British 51st Highland Division, cutting off the British 1st Armored Division.  With that, KG Klink set off, passing through the German 217th Infantry Regiment, launching its attack down the Blangy-Abbeville Road.  KG Klink passed through Villers sur Mareuil, then Huppy, and were moving towards St Maxent en Vimeu, when they encountered trouble near the three (fictional) villages, Dujour, Deture, and Toujour, on the River Bleu.

The first fight saw Colonel Klink lead the 1st Grenadier Platoon, supported by Stugs, in the attack on Dujours.  Repulsed, they were reinforced by the 4th Grenadier Platoon and drove the French force back onto Hill 44.

The second fight saw 1st Lt Tausch, lead his 3rd Grenadier Platoon into the assault on Hill 34.  The attack stalled in several locations, but the Lieutenant's skillful leadership maneuvered his troops until they were able to unhinge the enemy's defensive line.

The third fight saw the Reconnaissance Company Commander, 1Lt Wehner, seize the bridge at Deture after some very heavy street fighting.

The fourth fight sees Colonel Klink lead the remnants of the 1st Grenadier Platoon up Hill 44 to eliminate enemy forces in the southeast.

The overall area of operations, and that stupid north-seeking arrow at top right is incorrect, north is to far left...  The three villages are, from left to right: Dujour, Deture, and Toujour, and the hills are, from left to right: Hill 34, Hill 44, and Hill 54.  The River Bleu runs east-west down the center of the table.

My intent is to play a series of battles on a 6' x 4' layout, using small pieces, maybe 2' x 2' with 10mm troops.  I've gone back to my old standby, Ivan's "5Core Company Command."

The fourth fight is Colonel Klink leading the remnants of 1st Grenadier Platoon, who barely took the village of Dujour in Fight #1 (with help), up to clear enemy stragglers off the top of Hill 44, in order to firm up the left (eastern) flank of the Kampfgruppe's penetration.

The opposing forces, with Germans on left and French on right.  The French are completely made of Minifigs UK troops, while the German infantry is Minifigs, but the Stug and command stand are Pendraken.

The German force:
CO: Colonel Klink (Iron Cross 2nd Class), Kampfgruppe Commander
Stug III: Sgt Kulle
2nd Squad, 1st Platoon: Cpl Arteis (and acting Platoon Commander
4th Squad, 1st Platoon Cpl Lipniki (really remnants of 1st and 3rd Squads as 4th Squad almost entire casualties)
1st Squad, 2nd Motorcycle Platoon: Sgt Eisen
3rd Squad, 2nd Motorcycle Platoon: Cpl Pankau

The French force:
Commanding Officer
1 x MG Team
1 x 25mm Anti-Tank Gun
Two Rifle Squads

My interpretation of the operational area, with the villages Dujour (top left), Deture (center), and Toujour (far right) and hills 34 (bottom center left), 44 (top center left), and 54 (bottom center right, with the River Bleu running east-west (top to bottom) at center.

Overview of the battle area, north is down, the village of Dujour is at bottom left, the village of Deture is just visible at top right, and the objective, Hill 44, is at top left.  With the bridge over the River Bleu seized (just off camera to top center right), you can see Major Schultz leading 4th Grenadier Platoon up into position to assault the final village, Toujour.  But Colonel Klink (bottom left) has more pressing problems: he has Sgt Kulle's Stug staged behind some hedges at far right, escorted by Sgt Eisen's squad, while the good Colonel is in the village with Cpl Arteis, Lipniki, and Pankau's squads.  The plan is to have the Stug pound the French hilltop positions (top left) while Colonel Klink leads the platoon up the northern slope to close assault the enemy into oblivion.

The German setup: Colonel Klink with Cpl Pankau's squad in the house and Cpl Arteis and Lipniki's squads sheltering behind, waiting for the Stug (top right, escorted by Sgt Eisen's squad) to commence the bombardment.

The French position: at left is a sandbagged position containing the French 1st Squad and CO.  Moving right you get the French MG and ATG, then the French 2nd Squad holding down their left flank.  The remnants of Dujour's garrison, there's not much to work with, but the Germans aren't much better off.

And right off the bat, things go the French's way: while Sgt Kulle thinks he's been clever in finding a covered route to get his Stug (top left) into position on his start line, the French 25mm gun crew saw him get in there, then spotted him through a hole in the foliage.  With the German machine sitting still, engine idling, they patiently line up a shot and take it...

The solid-shot armor piercing round slams into the Stug, immobilizing it and causing Sgt Kulle and his crew to bail out!  And not only that, but Sgt Eisen's squad is suppressed as well!

*Well, that's a helluva start to the game.  Actually, it started well for the Germans: the French rolled up a 'scurry,' which is the absolute worst thing that can happen to a static defense, since you can only move but not shoot.  BUT, they not only rolled the scurry, they also rolled up a Random Event that not only allowed them an anti-tank shot, but an anti-tank shot with some added accuracy.  Perfect...

Cpl Pankau's squad, in the house, fires up hill, having located the French machine gun position

And now it's the French CO's turn to be shocked, as he watches his machine gun team knocked out by rifle fire coming uphill!

And Colonel Klink leads his other two squads up, doing his best to utilize dead ground to keep French fire off of them.

*Sgt Eisen's squad is suppressed at top right, with very little chance of materially contributing to this fight as no friendly unit is close enough to move over to help rally them, and it's not likely the German CO will be willing to spend command impetus to rally them vice keep the attack moving.  Kinda sucks, if ya ask me...

The French 1st Squad (in the defensive emplacement) yelps for help, bringing their 2nd Squad over (far left, from bottom center) to assist in their defense against the German infantry (just visible, coming up the hill, at top left).

And the French anti-tank gun crew begins pushing their gun up, trying to get it into play (center left, from center bottom).

From the house, Cpl Pankau's squad continues to lay down covering fire for the rest of the platoon (far left).

As Cpl Lipniki's squad moves up to the treeline (far left).

They (far left) manage to draw the attention of the French 1st Squad, and the two exchange fire to little effect (the French became pinned).

The French CO (top right) spurs his men on, wanting them to fight harder.  They rise up and unleash another fusillade...

But Cpl Lipniki's squad has the MG-34 going now and the French are suppressed.

*That's just artistic license, no actual change in what I did, they're both rolling 1K 1S.

The French 2nd Squad (center right), unable to engage the closing German infantry (top right) because of dead ground, fire on Cpl Pankau's squad in the house (top left)...

Putting them out of the fight, despite being in relatively good cover!  The squad didn't take heavy casualties, it was more in shock at the loss of its leader, when Cpl Pankau was killed in action.

And then a shocking turn of events, as Colonel Klink leads Cpl Arteis and his squad into close combat with the suppressed French 1st Squad.  The Germans got up and over the sandbags, but the French rose up and eliminated them (right) as Cpl Lipniki's squad (far left) looks on!

Even worse, Cpl Arteis was killed in action and Colonel Klink was moderately wounded!  The CO was wounded bad enough to be out of this fight, require evacuation, and about two months to convalesce.  Little did he know it, but Major Schultz just became the acting Kampfgruppe Commander!

*And my humble apologies, I don't know how I did that, but I somehow missed the vital picture showing Col Klink and Cpl Arteis going over the top.

So, now what?  The French have two squads, a CO, and an ATG, the Germans only two squads (and one is suppressed).  I roll to see if the Germans continue or pack it in...

Enraged by the death of his friend and the wounding of his commander, Cpl Lipniki pushes his men through the treeline and into melee with the French 1st Squad and CO!

And, against the odds, Cpl Lipniki's squad returns the favor!  The French CO and 1st Squad are knocked out of the fight!

And as Cpl Lipniki's men take up firing positions in the French emplacement, the French anti-tank gunners and 2nd Squad riflemen throw up their hands in surrender.

Sgt Eisen brings his squad up to help out.  Better late than never, I suppose.  And with that, the mission is accomplished, Hill 44 is secured.

*Sorry, a small fight, perhaps a small, silly fight, but necessary to move the narrative along.  You'll see why.

So, with Hill 44 (bottom left) and the bridge at Deture (top right) in German hands, it's time for the assault on Toujour (off camera to top left).  The now acting KG Klink Commander, Major Schultz (center), continues to move 4th Grenadier Platoon up to it's jump-off point.  But there's a problem: the Germans have not cleared Hill 54 (off camera to top right) and it's infernal French mortar crew, which continues to drop rounds indiscriminately on the crossroads at Deture.  Not wanting to suffer casualties before they even reach the line of departure, Maj Schultz changes the plan on the fly: he will soon be supported by the Panzer Company's 1st Platoon, consisting of five Panzer Mk IIs, but now this will be a two-pronged attack.  Maj Schultz is moving the infantry platoon to cross the river further east, away from the French mortars, so they'll hit the village of Toujour from there, as the panzer platoon crosses the bridge at Deture and swings slightly right to attack from the western quarter.

Major Schultz moves the 4th Grenadier Platoon east, on the north side of the river (Deture, with the Reconnaissance Company, at right, Toujour at top center, Hill 54 just visible at top right).

Where the resolute Germans set about crossing the River Bleu in small boats.

You don't know how many years I waited to take this photograph ;)

Safely across, Major Schultz forms them up, east of Deture.

As Lt Schiffer's Panzer IIs enter the battle area from the north, near the farmhouse (Dujour and Hill 44 off camera to top center).

The panzers continue south, nearing the bridge at Deture.

And up and over the bridge, reaching the line of departure, moving into the attack.

A very unorthodox fight, right from the get-go, and I really expected it to be a bit of a pushover for the Germans.  I probably should have had the Germans fall back after losing Col Klink and Cpl Arteis, but then I realized, the Germans don't really have a reserve.  They need to take Hill 44, but if I don't do it now, when will they do it?  The only support available is panzers, and they're not great at taking hilltops and, with my luck, they'll just get shot to pieces by that damn French ATG up there anyway, screwing up my plans for later fights anyway!  So I did roll, thinking I could pull another Motorcycle Squad an maybe an Engineer Squad into the fight, but was quite pleased when the Germans not only stayed, but that Cpl Lipnicki's gambit got extremely lucky and carried the day.

As the Landser policed up the battlefield, Sgt Kulle, who lost two of his Stug crewmen to the French ATG, arrived atop the hill, apologizing with tears in his eyes for letting the team down, watching as they covered the bodies of Corporals Pankau and Arteis, and carried away the wounded Colonel Klink on a litter.  "Don't fret boys, I'll be back..."

Germans: ~30 KIA/WIA, 1 Stug III damaged
French: ~20 KIA/WIA, 15 captured, 25mm ATG captured

Of the named characters, three were hit:
Colonel Klink, KG Commander, WIA, out for campaign (60 days, but that's longer than the campaign)
Cpl Arteis, 2nd Sqd, 1st Gren Plt, KIA
Cpl Pankau, 3rd Sqd, 2nd Motorcycle Plt, KIA

Cpl Lipniki was decorated for his effective, point-blank exchange of fire atop Hill 44, then leading his squad in a close assault that broke the back of the enemy's defense there, eliminating an enemy squad and their commander, capturing another squad and an anti-tank gun, and likely saving the life of his wounded commanding officer.

The stage is set for Major Schultz to lead 4th Grenadier Platoon and 1st Panzer Platoon into Toujour, but it's going to be a tough nut to crack!



  1. Another cracking and inspirational AAR Jack:). I have printed off the core rules and just need to find some time to start reading through them. From a quick flick through they look to be good:)

    1. Steve,

      Thanks man, you flatter me! I, obviously, am a huge fan of the rules, though they're certainly not everyone's cup of tea. As you look through the rules, let me know if you have any questions or issues, or are curious about what I'm doing, I'd be happy to help. They've got some mechanisms that are quite different from a lot of rulesets out there, take a bit getting used to. The first time I played, I absolutely hated them!


  2. At least my Stug lasted the entire game; yours did not even make it past the start line :-) And I believe you that you did not change the dice roll for Cpl Lipnicki close attack; but I sure you would have found some other way ("Oh look, a previously unknown reinforcement has just appeared at the base of the hill.").

    1. Yeah, none of my Stugs did very well, did they? The truth is, the Germans were getting their butts kicked bad enough that I probably shouldn't have given the good Corporal opportunity to close assault, they should have fallen back, but I didn't want to play that fight again.

      So yes, if Cpl Lipnicki had failed, reinforcements would have shown up and the exhausted but brave Frenchmen would have surrendered.